|Reviews - English|
THE PHILADELPHIA FESTIVAL OF WORLD CINEMA
The Films of Don Askarian
The Festival is honored to present the works of Don
Askarian. Born in 1949 in
Stepanakert, Autonomous Region of Nagorno Karabakh in the USSR he studied
history and art in Moscow and worked as an assistant director and film
critic. Askarian was imprisoned in 1975 and emigrated to West Berlin in
1978. His credits include THE BEAR
(1984) a feature based on a Chekhov
AVETIK is a poetic film which centers around Avetik, an Armenian filmmaker exiled in Berlin. He recalls his childhood, discusses alienation, and tries to reconcile history with Artashes, a 5th century King. In Armenia, a shepherd searches for lost sheep, while men with flamethrowers patrol the countryside… This poetic film beautifully expresses the longing for cultural identity and selfhood.
Friday, May 7,7:00pm with Don Askarian in person AMC Midtown Theatre. 1412 Chestnut St. 567-7021 Friday, May
14, 8:30pm (Askarian will not be present) UA RiverView Plaza. 1400 S. Delaware Ave. (at Reed) 755-2219
Saturday, May 8,8:15pm. Don Askarian in person DA RiverView Plaza. 1400 S. Delaware Ave. (at Reed)
NAGORNY KARABAKH: THE
THIRD AND FOURTH VOLUME OF THE ARMENIAN HISTORY
In spring of 1988 Armenia witnessed the largest demonstrations and strikes in Soviet history. Armenians demanded that Berg Karabach, an autonomous region in Azerbaijan, be registered as Armenian territory. Askarian secretly filmed the demonstrations and later smuggled his footage out of the country, creating this important documentary.
Sunday, May 9, 7:30pm, Don Askarian in person International House, 3701 Chestnut St., 895-6542
Filmmakers from as far away as New Zealand and as close as Germantown have contributed works to the festival, with over 21 countries being represented. This year’s festival includes many highlights. Among them: works from Latin America and Africa and the hemisphere premiere of Avetik by Armenian director Don Askarian, who will be here to present it as well as his other great films.
North and South American Premiere
At the center of this episodic and elliptical film is
Avetik, an Armenian filmmaker exited in Berlin. Avetik remembers his childhood in Armenia, discusses
alienation with a friend and tries to reconcile Armenian history with
Artashes, a 5th century King. In Armenia, a shepherd searches for lost
sheep, and men with flamethrowers patrol a
crumbling countryside. This theme of the search for self and
culture is established by the first image - that of a man bursting out of a
Most notable about AVETIK is the film's poetic styled. The film is shot mostly in long takes. The Armenian landscape, both natural and urban, is as fully realized as the people. Through fantastic photography of both landscapes and interiors, its complexities and contradictions are developed.
AVETIK may be part of a larger re-birth in Eastern: European cinema. But it is unlike any film in recent memory with its superb images and challenging, metaphoric structure. This film will certainly be seen as a watershed in post Soviet Cinema.
"If a film was
perfectly ‘interpretable’ that would be
a bad omen, if not a death sentence, for
the film. How adequately can a film be described, when the way
in which artistic information is created and transferred
is of a purely cinematographic nature?”
- Don Askarian
Don Askarian was born in 1949 in Stepanakert, Autonomous Region of Nagorno Karabakh, in the USSR. He studied history and art in Moscow and worked as an assistant director and film critic. He was imprisoned in1975 and emigrated to West Berlin in 1978. His credits include THE BEAR (1984) a feature based on a Chekhov story. His documentary NAGORNY KARABAKH (1988) and feature film KOMITAS (1988), about the life of the famous composer, will also be shown in PFWC 1993.